Seniors continue to lead Knights defense
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At the end of any season, upperclassmen are expected to show the prospective players of the program what it means to dig deep. The upperclassmen of UCF Football are giving their all towards the back-end of the season.
With the possibility of a bowl game, it’s become a dog fight on the field, and the numbers don’t lie. More than 77 percent of UCF’s defensive stoppages have been developed by upperclassmen.
The Knights are making defensive history this season. In last week’s game against Tulane, The Knights achieved three defensive scores for the first time in program history. Senior defensive back Drico Johnson was named FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week with two defensive scores— a scoop-and-score for 30 yards, and an interception for 86 yards.
When asked how he felt about the game and the superlative, he stated— “It’s a great feeling, but I’ve got to remain humble,” said Johnson.
He voiced his focus on the importance of finishing strong. Referring to the chance of earning a bowl game he said— “It’d be great to spend a couple extra weeks with my teammates before I leave. We’ve all seen how to win, and how to lose. Were just putting it all together.”
Johnson’s two defensive touchdowns outnumbered the offensive efforts of the Green Wave. UCF’s top five tackle leader are all upperclassman, with linebacker Senior Mark Rucker leading the team with 68 total.
Senior Shaquill Griffin leads the Knights with four interceptions. As a whole, the Knights have gathered 703 tackles, roughly one out of seven tackles has been for a loss.
They’ve earned the trust of Head Coach Scott Frost, who expressed nothing but assurance in them.
“I trust those guys (on defense) to manage the game,” said Frost.
When the topic of playing in bowl game came up, he didn’t seem too interested at first, as if he were hesitant to “jump the gun.” He did mention how the bowl games are beneficial to the team for the extra practice time, which benefits the younger players.
The Knights are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bearcats at home this Saturday. A win will provide them with bowl eligibility, and give those upperclassmen a well-deserved few extra weeks with the team.